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Mental and behavioral health

Offering recommendations on practice, science, and equity for the next iteration of the 21st Century Cures Act

APA responds to a request for recommendations on a follow-up to the 21st Century Cures Act. In its letter, APA highlights several advocacy priorities on an array of topics, including telehealth, parity, and the psychology workforce.

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American Psychological Association. (2021, July 21). Offering recommendations on practice, science, and equity for the next iteration of the 21st Century Cures Act. http://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/21st-century-cures-act

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), in front of the American flag

The 2016 21st Century Cures Act represented a critical first step in modernizing the American mental and behavioral health system. Among its many provisions, the law contains several provisions related to digital health care records, mental health parity requirements, and scientific research protocols. On June 22, 2021, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Fred Upton (R-MI), jointly released draft “Cures 2.0” legislation to update the 21st Century Cures Act’s provisions and solicited feedback from stakeholders on the design and focus of such legislation.

On July 16, 2021, APA Advocacy staff submitted a comprehensive response to this request via a letter signed by Chief Advocacy Officer Katherine B. McGuire (PDF, 359KB). The letter addresses a number of topics covered by the draft bill, including: 

  • Achieving diversity in the scientific workforce,
  • Alignment of digital therapeutics regulations, and 
  • The need to preserve and expand current flexibilities in coverage of telehealth, including audio-only telehealth. 

APA’s recommendations also highlight ongoing problems with mental health parity compliance despite the clear language in the original 21st Century Cures Act, the need for flexibility in coverage of innovative and evidence-based forms of treatment and models of integrated care, and the need to augment the mental health workforce.

For more information, contact Andrew Strickland, JD.